Lou Piniella fears his Yankee passion may torpedo Cooperstown bid

Former Yankees great and manager Lou Piniella

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This Sunday, a committee of 16 members will determine the Hall of Fame fate of Lou Piniella, a former Yankees player and legendary manager. He is optimistic that his renowned on-field outbursts won’t adversely impact his chances.

Despite boasting one of the highest managerial win counts in MLB history, Lou Piniella is often remembered for his on-field antics. Whether confronting umpires face-to-face, kicking his hat across the infield, or hurling bases around, the diverse methods by which he earned ejections from games are quite noteworthy.

Lou Piniella regrets as his HoF selection nears

In a story released on Wednesday, Lou Piniella acknowledged that his 64 career ejections had earned him a distinctive reputation in the game. At times, teams would specifically request him to intentionally get ejected.

lou-piniella-new-york-yankees
MARC TOPKIN | Times

Lou Piniella conveyed, as reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, that the only adjustment he would make in his career is to exhibit a slightly calmer demeanor on the field. The Yankees World Series champion humorously mentioned that in some instances during his managerial tenure, there were occasions where the higher-ups would encourage him to get ejected from games. They sought his ejection to generate attention, potentially making headlines in newspapers and increasing attendance for the team.

Lou Piniella’s third bid to get into the Hall of Fame

This marks Lou Piniella’s third Hall of Fame consideration since his retirement in 2010. In the previous attempt in 2018, he fell short by one vote, as induction through a 16-person committee requires a minimum of 12 votes (75%).

Lou Piniella boasts an impressive managerial record with 1,835 wins, ranking 16th all-time. Among those ahead of him, all but four are already in the Hall of Fame—Dusty Baker (2,183 wins), Bruce Bochy (2,093), Terry Francona (1,950 wins), and Gene Mauch (1,902). Baker, Bochy, and Francona are either still active or have recently retired, rendering them ineligible. Moreover, Mauch holds the lowest winning percentage (.483) among this group.

Former Yankees great and manager Lou Piniella
NYP

Additionally, Lou Piniella holds the distinction of managing the 2001 Seattle Mariners, the winningest team in AL history, which secured 116 victories under his leadership.

He also had an illustrious playing career, spanning 18 seasons, during which he posted an impressive slash line of .291/.333/.409. Lou Piniella earned the 1969 Rookie of the Year award, made an All-Star appearance in 1972, and clinched two World Series championships with the Yankees.

In terms of ejections, Lou Piniella’s 64 falls behind eight Hall of Fame managers, a list that includes Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, and Bobby Cox.

As the 16-person committee gathers to deliberate on his Hall of Fame destiny, Lou Piniella emphasizes that his fiery on-field outbursts were never personal. He attributes his animated approach to the guidance of the esteemed baseball figure, George Steinbrenner.

Lou Piniella is with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in 1980s.
TBT

Lou Piniella expressed, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times, that Steinbrenner’s directive was to treat baseball as a business, a sport, and entertainment, urging him to entertain the fans. He recalled that he followed this approach and enjoyed doing so. He emphasized that he never harbored ill feelings or grudges against umpires, maintaining respect for them. Lou Piniella also mentioned that he interacted with them in a light-hearted manner, having fun during games, and believed they also enjoyed these interactions. However, he speculated that this aspect of his managerial style might have influenced Hall of Fame voting to some extent.

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